Microsoft is offering the world a look inside its cloud data centers with a new virtual tour, an immersive experience that provides a walk-through of simulated data halls, network rooms, and operations equipment yards. The tour brings together audio, video, data cards and a simulated ata center environment to provide Internet visitors with a glimpse of the infrastructure that powers Microsoft’s cloud operations.

Microsoft joins the many data center service providers that have created virtual tours to provide remote access to facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many companies have sharply limited physical tours of their facilities. Tours have traditionally been a critical part of the data center provisioning process, giving customers the ability to see the space where their IT equipment will live and confirm the security and reliability of the facility.

For Microsoft, the goal of the virtual tour is to explain the physical infrastructure supporting its cloud services, which support many consumer services as well as IT hosting. The virtual data center experience is built in Unreal, and is a likeness of the current Microsoft data center design used in its Quincy, Washington campus.

“(The Cloud) is not nebulous magic, nor is it a single supercomputer,” a narrator explains in an introductory video. “The cloud is a globally interconnected network of millions of computers in datacenters around the world that work together to store and manage data, run applications and deliver content and services.”

For data center enthusiasts, the highlight will likely be the videos that bring viewers inside the server rooms:

The tour provides an opportunity to showcase its innovation in the data center, including video overviews of its projects to develop underwater data centers, DNA data storage, liquid immersion cooling and quantum computing. That includes a rendering of its Project Natick data module sitting on the ocean floor off the shore of Scotland.

The Microsoft Project Natick module takes edge compouting to the bottom of the ocean. (Image: Microsoft)

At Data Center Frontier we’ve been tracking the progress of data center virtual tours for years, including early adopters like RagingWire in 2016 and Google’s periodic updates on its data center tours.

For more, check out Microsoft’s virtual tour and accompanying blog post.

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